Monday, December 30, 2013

The Last One from Waller

December 30, 2013

That's right – I am leaving Waller tomorrow morning. I can’t believe it. I am going to miss this place so much.  Waller is such a special place with so many people who I love so much. Ahhhh Waller! My beautiful two story apartment and my jeep!
On that note let me share one cool experience from this week. We went to a lesson with one of our investigators, N, who lives right next to another one of our investigators, A. We have been teaching N for a long time and she has some "hang up" questions that she has been having a hard time getting past. One of those questions is: "Why did Christ need to come to the Americas?" We have explained and explained for many, many lessons about why we have the Book of Mormon and why He came to the Americas. She just didn’t get it. We went to our lesson with her this week and she said: "I was talking to A this week and we were talking about you guys and what we have learned." (Granted, we have only taught A twice.) "She said,'If you had the best news in the world would you only tell one person? Or, would you want to tell everyone? THAT is why He came to America... He had to tell everyone!'" WHAT!  A is a rock star! I was so proud of her!
Thank you so much everyone for the Christmas gifts and letters! Aunt Becky, I loved the Bucees t-shirt; it made me laugh. Plus, there is no way I could leave Waller without a Bucees t-shirt! Calverts, I love the scarf and the CD! Thank you so much.
I love you all!

Friday, December 27, 2013

The One that Doesn't Even Count

December 23, 2013

[Editor's Note:  Life has been crazy in the Burnham household.  We had a wonderful phone call with Hermana Burnham on December 25th.  She is loving every minute of her mission, is working hard and is doing well.  She had no time to email this week, but we were grateful for this short note.  Thank you all for your continued to support and love.  We appreciate your kindnesses toward her and our family.]

* * * * * * * * * *
Solo shout outs --  (I have no time to email):
Thanks Aunt Becky and Uncle Jaunty!
Thanks Amber!
Thanks Parry Family!
Thanks Ray/Anita!
Thanks Calverts! 


What a blessing it is to have such a wonderful family and such wonderful friends.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Stolen Picture

December 14, 2013
I stole this picture from the Texas Houston blog.  It was taken at a specialized training given to the missionaries. 
Hermana Burnham is in the mint colored jacket.


The One with the Ward Christmas Party

 December 16, 2013
Doesn't it seem like just yesterday was the ward Thanksgiving Party? Well, Merry Christmas everyone! Christmas is next week people!  WHAT?  What is happening with time!?
This week I hit my 9 month mark. That means I have completed half of my mission—which means I am halfway to dying.  That is what that means. Sighhhhh.
So our ward Christmas party was a lot of fun. There were less people there than we usually have at church (that is like 25 people on a good day).  But, hey, I loved it.  I seriously love this little branch so much, I can’t even tell you. We ate flautas and pozole aka my two favorite foods!  The party was on my nine month mark . . . once again the ward throws a party to celebrate ME! (Let a girl dream.)   We ended the night by breaking into an a cappella "Feliz Navidad." A whole bunch of Hispanic people singing “Feliz Navidad” at the top of their lungs? Could life get any better than that? The answer is no.
I do believe though my favorite part of the week came on Sunday as I sat at the piano in Primary.  I always find Primary a truly edifying experience. This week’s Sharing Time was about the Second Coming. The kids played a matching game and read scriptures about when the Savior comes again. After reading one particular scripture Hna Bayles showed a picture of Christ coming with the angels (you know the one I'm talking about), to which little Lucy exclaimed to Susy:   "He is coming again Susy! He is really coming! We are going to meet Him! I am so excited!"  The little girls hugged and expressed such pure joy at the thought of the returning Messiah. I couldn't help but hold back tears as I witnessed such a pure and childlike expression of trust and faith in the promises given to us by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
"And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven."  (Matthew 18:3)
I love you all. Have a great week!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The One with the Letter to Pa

December 9, 2013
Family Christmas, December 2012
William Joseph Souhrada, Sr. (with Kaylyn)
[Editor's Note:  My sweet father, William, passed away on December 7, 2013.  Hermana Burnham's Mission President, President Pingree, informed her of his passing.  I am so very grateful for Alivia's sweet companion, Hermana Durham, who I am sure was a great comfort to her.  

Also note that Dad was a real teaser and never much of a drinker. He was always very respectful of my family's faith and beliefs, but was still a kidder at heart and knew how to yank her chain (as evidenced from the "swim" memory below). They were extremely close.  Below is her weekly email, addressed to her grandfather.]
Dear Pa,
Well, I didn’t appreciate the call I received Sunday morning regarding your passing.  I imagine you didn’t very much want anyone to receive it either.  You, my friend, made me cry--like real life cry--for the first time since I have been on my mission!  That is pretty impressive.  
I have been reflecting the past few days on my memories of you and the influence you have had on my life.  I thought of sitting at the Flea Market, playing cards, walking on the pier, you getting mad at me when I wouldn't drink the alcohol offered, and my angel teddy bear you gave me as a kid.  I also thought of going to the little beach right by your house that I was just SURE was one only we (our family) knew about.  I thought about once as a child calling you and begging you to come teach me how to swim because you were probably the best swimmer in Florida.  You gruffly responded, "NO!"  When my response was "Whyyyyyyy not, Grandpa!?" – you responded -- "Because I don’t like you very much!"  Ha. 

And that is how our relationship was--me not being afraid to push your buttons, and you not being afraid to say it like it was. But, deep within your heart and right behind your eyes, I always knew how deeply you loved me.  I hope you could see it too . . . right behind my eyes, and deep within my heart, the love I had for you--and still have for you.  I never grew tired about telling stories to my friends of my super cool Grandpa who was the toughest person alive.

Now, you have forced me to really think about what I believe when it comes to life after death and where my testimony really stands. As I have been thinking about it, I have come to several conclusions: 1. I’m sorry that they don’t have whiskey in Heaven; 2. I know you live on; 3. I know that our Heavenly Father has answered so many prayers offered by you, and the rest of us, to watch over your family still here on earth; 4. I know that you have been released from the illnesses that held you bound and that you are no longer in pain and no longer suffering; and,  5. I know that the Lord has sent a few of His choice servants to be with you just beyond the veil, while we wait here.  Give Dede a hug for me.  

And Grandpa, listen to those people who come to teach you and remember me down here.
I love you so much, Pa.  I will miss you every day until my time ends here on earth; but, what a glorious reunion it will be when we will meet again.   

"And I soon go to the place of my rest which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest. And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father. Amen." Enos 1:27
With All the Love I Can Muster and Until We Meet Again,

Your Baby Granddaughter

Monday, December 2, 2013

The One with the Fruits of My Labors

December 2, 2013

I have considered many titles for this email. Sometimes I struggle to find a new one and at other times there are so many names that it is hard to choose what to title it. So many things happened this week! I considered all of the following as titles:

"The One with/where....”

The Anthill Round 2

A Pug Sneezed on my Face


I Gained All My Mission Weight and Then Some

Mudpuddles (The Dessert, not the Water)

I Saw Snow in Texas

The Priesthood

I was Sick

The Longest Week of my Life

Some of those are pretty self-explanatory. Like, a pug sneezing on my face and Thanksgiving and the fact that it snowed in Waller. (It only snowed for like 2 seconds and it didn’t stick; but, IT SNOWED IN TEXAS.) The other ones requiere (hey, I wrote that in Spanish, but I decided to leave it because it was cool that I wrote in Spanish on accident, haha) more of an explanation.  

#1—We were asked to babysit our neighbor's dog (the pug that sneezed on my face). Apparently, I am a cursed house-watcher because on day three of babysitting I found an ANTHILL IN HER HOUSE. *Flashback to the plants story*.  This is a sign that no one should ever leave me alone with their property because ants WILL attack their home!  
#2—I got the Flu Shot this week which made me sick for a day. It was a terrible day. I was sitting in Walgreens waiting for my companion to do something and there is a sign that says "Get Your Flu Shot Today".   I remembered the words of our mission doctor: "If you get the flu and call me, the first thing I am going to say is: 'Did you get your flu shot?' And if you say no, I am hanging up the phone."  Knowing myself and my body’s wonderful ability to pick up any and all sickness, I figured I might as well get my flu shot.  So I did. The next day was the worst day of my life! But hey, at least it was only one day and hopefully I am protected from all the rest of the ick in the future. If I still end up getting the flu, then I am going to be so mad.
#3—Mudpuddles are these delicious, little desserts our Branch President’s wife made that I could eat for my whole life. They were so good.
#4—I got a blessing from President Bayles (Branch President) this week and it was probably the most needed blessing I have received since I’ve been on my mission. It was beautiful. I was so grateful he was there to help.  
#5—The ACTUAL title of my email. We worked hard this week. And I prayed harder than I have ever prayed before. The Lord blessed me this week. I sat in church as I slowly watched 4 of our investigators enter the doors.  4.  That is unheard of, people.  FOUR.  In the Texas Houston Mission that DOES NOT HAPPEN.  Our zone goal is to have 10 people come to church in the month of December, per companionship, and we had 4 on DAY 1!!  It was the biggest tender mercy I have experienced/the most perfectly timed small miracle from the Lord.  It was like I could hear the Spirit whispering in my ear: "Mira a los frutos de tus labores."  Of course, they aren’t my efforts.  No one would care if it was just little ol’ Alivia preaching at their door, but I felt the comfort of the Lord as I watched these people sit themselves in the chapel.  President Bayles looked down and we smiled as we looked at the very people whom we had talked about getting to church, that morning in correlation, sitting in the pews.  
I am so glad to be a missionary. I can’t say it enough. I love this work.
I love you all!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

The One With the Thanksgiving Party

November 25, 2013
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  
This was a LONG week. The first week after transfers is always the longest and the hardest, in my opinion.  Wheweee.  But, everyone survived!  My new companion's name is Hermana Durham. Yupp, you read that right Durham. Now we have Burnham and Durham. If we didn’t confuse everyone enough already . . . now there's two of us! "If I wasn't enough of a freak already, let's add a tiara!" (Name that movie.)  
She is awesome. She is from California. I have had 5 companions now and ALL have been from California. I think I'm sensing a pattern. Next transfers I will just look at the board and narrow it down from all Sisters in the mission that I haven’t been with that are from California.  That should give me a pretty good guess of who my next companion is going to be, haha. Hna Durham came out with me, so we have been out the same amount of time.  
It has been a good week. We found a couple of really great new people to teach. We taught some good lessons. We set a baptismal date . . . "I’mmm dreaming of a white Christmassss". Life is good.
We had our ward Thanksgiving party this week! It went super well, and we had a good turn out and LOTS of food. Hispanics don't really celebrate Thanksgiving, but the whole idea behind this was: "We live in America and need to learn about/teach our children the traditions here, too."  So, we had a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  I made the stuffing--from a box of course.  I made a whole bunch of those hand turkeys . . . you know the kind that you make as a Kindergartener?  Yeah, those ones.  It was a lot of fun.
Inspired by Brother Adams, we have a little jar on our study table that we are filling with little "thankfuls" that we will then read on Thanksgiving. I am probably going to gain 10 pounds in the next few months.  Really looking forward to that.  Oh wait, I'm NOT. But hey I love the holidays!
I wanted to write a few shout outs:
Sister Hammer:  I just got your Halloween card this week. Thank you so much!
Brother Bennett: What a delight it was to hear from you. I loved the scriptures you included. And believe me, my mom tells me all the updates of the little kids who are now not little kids and always writes: "Do you feel old yet?" I can’t believe it.
Sister Rutledge: Thank you so much for your note. :)  It put a smile on my face! Give that new, little baby of yours some kisses for me!   
Being a missionary is the BEST THING IN THE WORLD. Speaking Spanish is THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD.  Teaching people about the gospel in the BEST THING IN THE WORLD.  
I’m happy. Are you happy?  I love you all. You are in my prayers.

(Editor's note: from a second email): 

P.S.:  I am going to a member of the English ward for Thanksgiving. We actually visit with a lot of the English ward people because 1) everyone loves Sister Missionaries more; and, 2) the Elders don't make it to see a lot of them because they live too far away. So, the H's invited us over for dinner. I don't really know B, but I know our Elders do service for him. He walks up to me and church, and I go to shake his hand. He says:  "Now sister, we both know a handshake won't do" and pulls me into a big hug. It was very much needed. Then he walks away.  He walks back in a few minutes later and says, "Do you and your companion have plans for Thanksgiving?"  I said, "Not yet, sir." He said, "Well you do now. Be there at 1."  It was a little tender mercy from Heavenly Father. The English members down here are the best. The literal best. I am so grateful for them.


Saturday, November 23, 2013


I stole this picture from the mission website.  Hermana Burnham y Hermana Hosking each have a new companion.  I am excited for Monday to hear about the new companion!
Hermana Burnham, 2nd sister from the left; Hermana Hosking on the right.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Hermana Burnham has not sent any pictures home in the last six weeks!  Yes, that is six weeks.  She is busy, I know.  I stole this picture from the mission blog.
Hermana Burnham is on the far right!

The One with the Week about Faith

November 18, 2013
Well, the bad news has arrived--Hna Hosking is getting transferred and my LIFE IS OVER. Not really, but I am super bummed about it. Only one transfer together? This is the pits. But I’m sure my next companion will be great just like the other 4 have been great!  I am not super excited about taking over Waller when I have only been out here one transfer though because GUESS WHAT, I don’t know how to get ANYWHERE.  My poor new companion is going to think I’m the worst.  Whoops.  I definitely slept during car rides. (#sorrynotsorry)
We had a good week. There was one particular subject that really seemed to be the theme of this week for me—that was faith. I was studying about faith and just really thinking a lot about faith.
We taught a lesson to a woman named D. She investigated the Church for a long time. We found her kinda by accident. But then again, there are no accidents as a missionary. We began teaching her and she had a LOT of doubts. She told us of an experience she had with the missionaries that was somewhat of a miracle. She said they watched a movie about a girl who doubted some things in her life and one day prayed for help. She opened her scriptures and there was a rose that she hadn’t seen before and it was like a book mark.  It lead her to read something she really needed. D told us that after the movie ended she opened her Book of Mormon and there, sitting in her scriptures, was the same rose that was just in the movie. She said everyone started crying because it was a miracle. She later decided not to join the Church.
It made me reflect on the critical importance of faith in our lives and how miracles never were and never will be any replacement for the needed characteristic of faith. Dad used to tell me all the time that if people don’t have faith than even miracles wouldn’t be enough.  I have now experienced that.
I was reading one day in Alma 32, aka “the faith chapter”, and these verses really caught my attention. How many times have I read Alma 32 in my life? About 3,000.  But, these stood out to me in a whole new light:
17 Yea, there are many who do say: If thou wilt show unto us a sign from heaven, then we shall know of a surety; then we shall believe.
 18 Now I ask, is this faith? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; for if a man knoweth a thing he hath no cause to believe, for he knoweth it.
 19 And now, how much more cursed is he that knoweth the will of God and doeth it not, than he that only believeth, or only hath cause to believe, and falleth into transgression?
I am so grateful for the mercy of God in allowing us to trust in Him, instead of forcing knowledge upon us.  How condemned a people would we be otherwise?
I invite you all to grow your faith every day – to seek for the Lord in all things you do.  Just be trusting instead of doubtful. Faith fills you with peace. Doubt fills you with fear. Real life--I’ve lived it.
I love you all. <3

Monday, November 11, 2013

The One Where Things Picked Up

November 11, 2012
Ya’ll, I have had an awesome week. Like, an awesome week. We were busy, and we pounded pavement. We taught powerfully.  We found new investigators and people started to DO stuff. It was a great week.
I wanted to write and tell ya’ll about J.  J is a member of our English class. (Have I told you that we teach English classes?)  He is a really cool guy.  He is in his 40's and lives here alone. He has a wife and two girls in Mexico. He is so respectful and kind. I just love J.  One of the things that I love about J is that he DOES stuff. As a missionary, you teach a lot, but sometimes people don’t really enjoy acting on the things that you are teaching them. For example, we will be like: "Will you read this pamphlet before we come over in 3 days?" and people will say, "Sure! Yeah!"  Then we go over 3 days later and we ask:  "How did you like that pamphlet?" They are like, "Oh, . . . well, I was really busy and I didn’t have time to read it."  So, what you are telling me is that this 5"x 7", 5 page long pamphlet, that has pictures and a large font, that you could literally read through in 6 minutes, was too much?  You really need to loosen up your schedule. . . . It really isn’t that difficult. (Sorry, rant over.)
So, that is what usually happens when we teach people. But THEN we met J. We gave J all the pamphlets at once (unorthodox, I know) and the next time we saw him, he had read all of them. We were like, "J, what!? You read all the pamphlets!?"  He said: "Well....yeah...? They are really small." Why can’t everyone have that attitude? They ARE really small J! You are absolutely correct! In addition to reading things he has come to every activity, church, the temple and a baptism. He is the best! And get this, we have never even really taught J, yet.  We have had a couple short lessons with him, but mostly he is just ridiculously prepared and willing to do anything without us even teaching him. I just really love J.  
That is just the tip of the iceberg with the good things happening here is Waller.  
Hna Hosking and I have been walking a lot and that gives us a lot of time to talk. We talk about a lot of things, but this week we were talking about what we are doing here as missionaries. What our expectations were and how things have panned out. We talked about how grateful we are to be missionaries. We spend all day, every day, talking to people about Jesus Christ. We meet the weirdest, most unique, and coolest people every. single. day.  We have spent hours sitting and helping people cope with things that we have no experience in. We get chased by all sorts of animals. People buy us random stuff.  When would we ever, ever, have these experiences? It is such a blessing, and I love it so much.  I love you all!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The One With The Mouse

November 4, 2013
A mouse lives in our apartment.  Would you like to know how I learned this? Well, let me tell you.
Sunday morning I was just living my life like I do every day with no fear that at any moment we would be turning over all furniture to catch a small vermon.  So, I sit down at my desk and grab my purse and put it on my lap.  Before I know it, a small mouse runs out of my purse, onto my lap, and is running up my tummy.  I kind of mini-scream, and the poor little mouse jumps from my stomach to the ground.  The fall clearly disoriented the poor guy because for the first few seconds he ran all sideways.  We grab bowls and go to work on catching this mouse.  Long story short, Hna Hosking is screaming, all of our furniture in turned over after a wild, literal mouse chase.  I am standing there on the edge of tears feeling so bad for how scared the mouse must feel.  It was so cute and it was so small.  We lost the mouse after chasing it for like 10 minutes.  It disappeared.  We have no idea where it went.  So, there is a mouse living in our house........somewhere.
Other than that, not a ton happened this week. But I do have one story to share. So, here it is:
There is a recent convert here named M. He was in a tragic accident and lost a lot of his brain function.  His talking is really hard to understand, but the more time you spend with him the easier it gets.  We were like, "M, you are going to teach US all of the lessons."  He was super excited.  We gave him the Restoration pamphlet and then came back a few days later so he could teach us.  He stands up in front of us and teaches us the Restoration. He does a great job and he starts bowing and I say: "M, what is your testimony about this?"  He looks at us and is, like: "Well . . . I don’t believe the Book of Mormon is true." Sister Hosking and I look at each other like "WHAT? M!?"  So, she says:  "Wait, you DON’T believe it is true?"  He says:  "Nope."   Then, falling into his chair, he says:  "Asi es, Pagina!”
So let me explain that.   Hna Hosking's name is Paige. "Page" in Spanish is pagina.  So, as a joke a lot of us call her Pagina.   “Asi es” means, "like this" or "this is how it is" or "thus it is".  So, he just falls in his chair and goes:  "Asi es, Pagina!" Sister Hosking and I have to pick our jaws up from the ground and she just goes:   "Where did that attitude come from M!?"   As I am writing this story, I realize it was totally a moment you had to be there to realize how funny it was/you really have to know M.  But, just take my word that it was hilarious.  And don’t worry, he believes in the Book of Mormon.  
Oh M.  
I love you all. Keep the faith. Be obedient. Be good. Smile at someone today.
Hermana Burnham
P.S. -- This week I ate crawfish, Cajun food, and turkey gizzard. Yummorama!

Monday, October 28, 2013


Received October 28, 2013:
This is what Waller, TX looks like!

Branch Temple Trip

M and I asleep in the car.
(His mom is Mexican and his Dad is from Africa.  He is a beautiful child.)

This is us with the Primary. The little girl in the middle with the pinkish/purple jacket on is our little,  9 year-old, investigator (D).
Zone Conference Lunch
(Taken off of the Mission Blog)

Zone Temple Trip
(Taken off of the Mission Blog)

The One with Marriage Counseling

 October 28, 2013
Anyone who is familiar with the missionary handbook knows that missionaries are not sent out on missions to be counselors.  However, a lot of the times, that is what they become, even when they strive diligently to not be.  So, with that being said, this week we went to visit K. She is our newest, most awesome investigator.  We knock on her door and we can hear her screaming inside. She comes to the door and is crying. She walks out with us onto the porch and begins to divulge her life to us. She has 2 little girls and is pregnant (that we knew.) She lives with her in-laws (that we also knew).  She begins to talk to us about the father of her children. They got married when they were 14 and divorced about 5ish years later. Due to some problems with her mom, she moved back into his house and lives with his parents. He works pretty far away, however, and is gone for several weeks at a time. They aren’t really dating, but kind of are.  It is a strange situation.  She started to tell us about some things they were going through because she felt like she didn’t know what else to do.  We let her just vent to us and then started to talk with her about the power of prayer.

We told her that praying with her "husband" would strengthen their relationship and praying with the girls would strengthen their family. That is when she opened the door and yelled "D! COME OUTSIDE!"  That is when we met D.  Ohhhh, D.  I can’t give you details of the things he told us.  (I guess being raised by lawyers I have this sense of "Investigator-Missionary privilege" or something), but let’s just say he has done some things that he should not have done/should not be doing.  He was very open to listening to what we had to tell him about being a better father and husband though.  We were talking to him about prayer and he goes:   "Yeah, I guess I could pray, like, I don’t know, once a month; but once a day just seems wrong.   Like, I can’t be doing ________ and pray. And if I pray I’m going to want to change to be good or something."  YES, D, THAT IS PRECISELY THE POINT.  K is just crying and says:  "I just want to be happy like you guys are happy", so that was really cute. Anyway, they promised to us and each other that they would pray together that night. We meet with her tomorrow and we will see whether they followed through.  
If I had any advice to give people about marriage, it is don’t get married when you are 14.  Also, don’t get pregnant when you are 13 or 14. That just makes life a whole lot harder than it needs to be.   My children will not be allowed to talk to people of the opposite gender until they are in college!  I love K and we are so excited to help her change her life!!

In other news, the Primary Program was yesterday and it was super cute. Our little 9 yr-old investigator was the only one who gave a part that wasn’t written for her. She bore her testimony and I was just sitting at the piano a wreckkkkk.  She is so prepared for baptism it is unreal. Sometimes I look at her and think, "I feel like YOU should be teaching ME about the gospel."  She really is an adult trapped in a little girl’s body.  She is the most mature 9 year-old I have ever met. I sure do love her.
That about covers it for this week! I love you all!  

Hermana Burnham

Monday, October 21, 2013

The One When the Plants Turned Into Ant Hills

October 21, 2012
Helllllo Family and Friends!

Aunt Becky: I can’t believe you were just in Buc-ees! I can see that from my house, haha. You passed right by our church building! Thanks for your letter and funds for Buc-ees :)

So the title of my email can be explained through the following story:
Pre-story info:  For anyone who knows me . . . ants are my biggest fear. They are also EVERYWHERE in Texas.  Like......everywhere. There is no such thing as sitting in the grass here, or having a picnic. Nope. That isn’t real life.  

Okay, so we have these friends named Dolly and Wesley. They are old, cute and have this cute Texas house on a huge piece of land, like everyone else in Waller. Well, they went to Italy last week and asked us to water their plants. We did so. We would go every few days, water them and leave. No big deal right? WRONG. The last day we were supposed to water them before they got home, we found a little surprise I like to call THE POTTED PLANTS BY THE DOOR HAD ALL TURNED INTO ANT HILLS.  I am not talking like there were a few ants chillin’ in these plants; they were full-on completely developed ant hills -- with hundreds, probably thousands, of ants.  Oh, and ants in Texas aren’t normal ants, they are fire ants.  All of them.  In addition to being in the plants,  they were all over the ground! Well, before we realized that these plants were now ant hills, we watered them. Well you know what ant hills are full of besides ants? Holes.  So not only are there ants ALL over the place, but now their floor is covered in water that had run through the plants as well. I also think we killed all their other plants. Moral of the story: Never ask Hna Hosking and me to watch your plants while you are out of town.
I also ate tongue this week. Yum yum, eat up. Oh, just for Moms benefit, the tongue was from a Taqueria, too. So, was it of good quality? Of course not. Was it even properly cared for? Nope. But, hey, it tasted good.

We have been having a lot of success out here is Waller. We have implemented a new method I like to call "Exploring" – where we drive in the car, or walk, turning down random roads and such until we find a house or row of houses we decide need to be knocked. The Lord has directed us to find some really awesome people, one whom we met this week and then accepted baptism 2 days later! Woo hoo! The Lord is good to us.
The Church is true. I have been reflecting on the Book of Mormon and how precious it is in our lives. It is the most perfect of any books. Every misconception about Mormonism, or God, or any question, can be solved through reading it. I am convinced that the number one reason people misunderstand our Church is because they misunderstand the Book of Mormon.  Just read it.  Come and partake of the goodness.  

I love you all so much!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Answers to Some Questions

October 14, 2013:    The New Area -- Waller, TX

1.  Tell me all about your new companion.  She is awesome! Her name is Sister Hosking and, GET THIS, she is from Concord, CA.  We think her Dad is Kirstin's bishop.  She is 6'0" and swam for BYU. She is really cool, and we get along super well.

2.  How do you feel about being transferred so far away?  I am kind of glad I got transferred so far away. It is hard enough to leave Gulfbank, but I think if I was close it would be even harder.

3. Are you in a Spanish Branch?  Teaching in English or Spanish?  Yes, Spanish branch.  Like everyone here speaks English, but we speak to them in Spanish as much as we can. We visit a lot of the English ward members, too, because everyone loves Sisters more than they love Elders. It is just a fact of life, haha.

4. How do you like Waller:  LOVE IT.  It is so beautiful.   It is exactly what I pictured when I pictured Texas. It smells so good. Everyone knows everyone; so, everyone knows us.  It is totally different than Gulfbank though, and it will take a little getting used to.  Plus, all the people loved the Hna that just left.  Being the replacement is the worssssssst.  But, I guess they’ll like me eventually. They like that I can play piano, haha.

5. How is the investigator pool?  Pretty big actually, except they are like all eternal investigators that have been listening to the missionaries for like 4 years and won’t. do. anything. We are going to change that real quick.

The One from Waller

October 14, 2013 

I had this whole big, fancy email planned to send all of you! But, I ran out of time and need to leave. I am really sorry. But here is my short email!

I am in Waller!  It is the smallest little town ever. It is so cute and so Texas. We have a huge, two story apartment.  I have my own bathroom. We have a jeep. We are totally exiled and never see any other missionaries besides the Elders that we share the area with, ever.  It smells so good here -- unlike Gulfbank that smelled like beer, dead dogs and pee.  IT IS BEAUTIFUL. I would send ya’ll pictures, but hey, my camera broke, sooo, haha. There are lots of animals everywhere because everyone has a farm. So, I am in heaven.  Also, it is calving season, so there are baby cows everrrrywhere.  

We do zumba three times a week with our Branch President's wife. My companion's name is Hna Hosking, and she is awesome -- and TALLER than me. The Branch is super witttle. The little children are my only friends so far.  There is a little girl who is Amelia's Mexican twin.  My Branch President’s family is white, but all his children speak Spanish – so that is my future family.
I still get to play piano for the Primary Program.   I ate real bacon. We get fresh eggs for free.  I ate grits.  I bought a "Waller" t-shirt.  We have the 2nd largest Bucees in the world. One of our investigators has the 4th largest horse in the world.  I ate fancy French food the other day. I fed chickens.  I kind of rode a dog named Molly. The dogs here don’t want to kill you. The people here also don’t want to kill you. I feel safe.

That sums it up for this week.  Moses 6:31-34:   Might we all choose to walk with Him.

 I love you all!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Pictures -- October 7, 2013

Dinner time.

Hermana Burnham y Hermana Koch. 
This is their last week together as Hermana Burnham will be
transferred out on Wednesday.  They will be friends for forever.

The Texas sky.

The One With General Conference

October 7, 2013
So. I'm getting transfered. They decided to call us Sunday night (yesterday) instead of Tuesday night (tomorrow),  soooo, there ya have it family; I am out of Gulfbank. I don't really know how I feel about all of this. But, mostly I am sad because I feel like once you leave your baby area then your mission is pretty much over . . . like time is just going to fly now.  But hey! Maybe I am wrong about that. I sure hope so. I am mostly sad to be leaving E and Hna Koch.  But, hey, I am not here to do my own will, but the will of my Father. I'll go where You want me to go.

GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS THIS WEEK! IT WAS SO GOOD! I decided that I am going to send you all the things I wrote in red/bolded from my notes. I will send 10 cents to anyone who can name each of the speakers the quotes came from. Okay, so maybe I won't send 10 cents to everyone, but I will send 10 cents to Dad for every note he took that I did not.   ;)

Walk hand in hand with the Lord

Never look back. Look at what we still have to do

You have never fully served enough

May we all unite in the common objective of the eternal life of the souls of man

Raise your head to the square

This is the Lord's work and we are sustained as we labor for His cause

If you aren't paying tithing I ask you to look at your ways and repent! (I didn't bold that one, but that was just so cool I had to include it)

God is perfect and His doctrine is pure, but he works through us

Come and Add

Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith

Come, join with us

Lord, to whom shall we go?

There is a safe place!

Righteousness is more powerful than wickedness

That time is now

Everything is right

All this began with the singing of a hymn

There are feet to steady

Believe in miracles

If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it

May we live by faith, and hold fast to hope

We aren't asking for everything, we are just asking for something

Today the voice of the Good Shepard is YOUR voice and MY voice

We will all seek to find the One

The greatest act of love in all creation

They have us in Their keeping

I gave him to you because I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did

Our policies are determined by the truths God has declared as unchanging

You must become the rock the river cannot wash away

When the Lord speaks of weakness, it is always with mercy

As you serve others, Satan loses power in your life

This is the knowledge that sustains me

Brother Brimms never focused on what was missing, but gave thanks for what he had

Don't let your commitment ebb and flow

Let His promise be our watchword

Let us be at the forefront of the defending time for family

This is why you cannot fail

In simple words, look up

There is safety in a strong testimony

You need to use all your strength

I can return that love in my own imperfect way by loving Him

Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies

He even said it about you

His doctrine is ours to uphold

That list is a little longer than I thought it would be. But there you have it. Isn't God good?

Now I will tell a quick story from this week that totally broke my heart. So, I called E last night when I found out I was getting transferred. We talked for just a few minutes and I then I said: "We will come by and see you tomorrow. Have a good night!" He replied with the following words: "Nah, don't say that.  How can I have a 'good night' when my best friend is leaving?"  

I cannot even put into words how much I will miss Gulfbank. But, I am so excited to see the new experiences that come from serving in the new area. Life is always good in the service of the Lord. How could life get any better? :)


The One Where God Answers Prayers

September 30, 2013

This email is going to be a whole lot less about how missionary work is blessing my investigators and a whole lot more about how my investigators are blessing me. But, of course, I need to start with some highlights from this week/some of my inner thoughts:

 1. The Relief Society broadcast was great right!
2. I’ve never felt more out of place than being in an English church meeting though.  It was so weird. I felt judged like the whole time -- probably because I was talking really loud and walking around the congregation to hug people every 5 minutes--things that are TOTALLY acceptable and widely practiced in Hispanic braches.  I love Hispanic wards more than anything, man.
3. I definitely knocked a door this week and when they said they weren’t interested, I asked if it was okay if we took a picture of a bug that was sitting on their house. So, I think it is safe to say that I am a million times weirder than I was when I left for my mission....if that is even possible.
Okay, but to talk about the title of this email.
Missionary work is the greatest thing in the whole entire world. It brings so much joy.  But, it is also so hard.  I’m not a great missionary. I am no Alma or Amulek or Ammon.  [The Lord's tender mercies this week] were such GREAT MANIFESTATIONS of God's love for me. 
This is the work of Salvation. The Salvation of God's children. I am an inadequate vessel to be doing a work that is so important. For heaven’s sake I bear the name of our PERFECT Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. But, God calls upon the weak things of the world. I think that is what I learned this week.
I testify that the Lord answers our prayers. I can’t imagine how sad it makes the Lord when we don’t feel comfortable trusting in Him for comfort or guidance. How terrible of us. How terrible of me.
ENJOY CONFERENCE. Go with a prayer in your heart--something specific. Seek for revelation. You will find it.
I love you all.

Friday, September 27, 2013

September Training Pictures 2013

Here are a couple of pictures that I swiped from the Mission Blog:

Missionary Training

I believe this is Hermana's Burnham's Zone,
but I am not certain.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The One With John 16:33

 September 23, 2013

The following email will include things I learned about my life this week and also things I would suggest to add to your life:

 1.           I will never be a professional bike rider.

We went on exchanges this week and I had to bike all day. Let's just say, I have never been so grateful that we have a car. Sister Parry and I bought bikes, but never really rode them. But riding a bike all day? WOW. It was a great workout, but I was SO SORE the next day!!!

2.            The Crunchwrap Supreme from TacoBell?  Where had that thing been my whole life!?

3.            When you have the chance, find yourself the closest Mexican market and buy yourself some El Salvadorian Crema and proceed to devourrrrr that. HOLY COW it is so good. I just thought of Hna Escobar's tortillas (do you remember that email) with some of that crema and I think tears came to my eyes. Of course, a person would never just eat a spoonful of sour cream--gross. But at the risk of sounding gross, I think I could eat a spoonful of ESC straight—and enjoy it. I haven't done that, but the fact that I think I could do that probably demonstrates the pounds I have gained since coming to Texas.

4.            Go buy a Cup of Noodle, you know, those 28 cent ramen cups that you ate in 7th grade for lunch? Make one of those and then cut yourself a half of a lime and apply juice liberally to your cup of noodle broth. Eat. You’re welcome.

5. Who remembers the game Cooties? Where you make the bugs out of all those little pieces? How fun was that, right? I guess that wasn't really a piece of advice, I just thought of that this week.

6. This week I learned I should "Hit an important mark of my mission more often" because I got like 3 letters A DAY this week! IT WAS AWESOME. Usually I get like 3 letters a week (and that is like a really awesome amount to get). It was like Christmas. Thank you everyone who wrote me. You all made my week!

 Okay, life advice--OVER.

E calls us almost every night and we talk about scriptures and such. The other night he called and as he was talking to us about some stuff that was going on.   I felt impressed to share with him John 16:33:   "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."   He just read it, and then we ending our conversation for the night. He came to church yesterday and that was awesome, but then he called us that night. He had been having some really hard things happening and said that every time something happened he would just think of that scripture and think:  "I don't have to overcome the world, He already did it." One of the things my Dad told me before I left on my mission is: "Help people to understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ."

I don't fully understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I don't think I ever will in this lifetime. But it was such an amazing experience to watch a person, whom I care for so deeply, apply the atonement, simply, in his life. There is nothing, for which I am more grateful, than our Savior Jesus Christ. Through Him we can do ALL things. Because of Him we can do all things.  

I love you all. Thank you for your love and prayers.

 Hermana Alivia Burnham